GOP Advances 2 Nominees With No Democrats Present

After Democratic boycott, Finance Committee Republicans change the rules
By John Johnson,  Newser Staff
Posted Feb 1, 2017 9:37 AM CST
GOP Advances 2 Nominees With No Democrats Present
Sen. Orrin Hatch, R-Utah, chair of the finance panel, found a way to get two of President Trump's stalled nominees to the Senate floor.   (AP Photo/Alex Brandon)

Democrats found a way Tuesday to use the Senate's own rules to stall two of President Trump's Cabinet nominees. On Wednesday, Republicans retaliated in the simplest of ways: They changed those rules. As a result, the names of Treasury nominee Steve Mnuchin and Health and Human Services nominee Tom Price have advanced to the Senate floor for final confirmation, reports the Hill. The procedural maneuvering began Tuesday, when every Democrat on the Senate Finance Committee boycotted scheduled votes on the pair, saying neither had properly answered background questions. That effectively stopped the process because committee rules say at least one member from each party must be present for a vote to take place.

On Wednesday, Democrats boycotted again, so Republicans on the panel agreed to ditch the one-member-present rule. Voila: Both nominees advanced by votes of 14-0. "We took some unprecedented actions today due to the unprecedented obstruction of our colleagues," said Chairman Orrin Hatch, per Politico. "They have nobody to blame but themselves." No word yet in response from Democrats, who accused both nominees of making misleading statements about their financial backgrounds. (More Trump Cabinet stories.)

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